BOSTON (CBS) — Boston police and other law enforcement agencies will not be able to use MBTA buses for transportation to and from protests in the wake of George Flyod’s death at the hands of Minneapolis officers.
“At the direction of several members of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, effective today, June 5, the MBTA will no longer provide transportation for non-MBTA law enforcement personnel to or from public demonstrations on MBTA buses,” an MBTA spokesman said in a statement. “MBTA vehicles may be used to transport Transit Police in support of their public safety responsibilities safeguarding MBTA infrastructure.”
The advocacy group TransitMatters has been calling for the change. A resolution filed by Boston City Councilors Michelle Wu and Julia Mejia stated that “condemns the weaponization of our transit system by law enforcement agencies.”
1. @MBTA employees, buses, and facilities will never be commandeered by law enforcement or put into service on behalf of law enforcement to transport people who have been arrested during peaceful protests.
— TransitMatters #ExtendtheFMCB (@transitmatters) June 3, 2020
The State Police Union of Massachusetts, which represents troopers, criticized the board’s move.
“The MBTA has provided safe and reliable transportation, allowing for a single, inconspicuous vehicle to move our members,” they said in a statement. “Further, the skilled drivers of the MBTA know city streets and can expertly navigate the movement of our personnel to where they are most needed.”
Gov. Charlie Baker would not say at his news conference whether he agreed with the decision.
“We’ll do what we need to do to make sure that the resources get to where they need to go,” Baker said.